News: ‘Roadmaster’ company cases colors, celebrates over 70 years of service
Story by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett
FORT EUSTIS, Va. — In a small room surrounded with the history of the Army Transportation Corps, a small group of soldiers has gathered. As people wander in and find their seats they look forward to a small screen flashing images of service. To the right stands a small formation of soldiers, rallying behind their colors one last time.
Soldiers and civilians bid farewell to the 89th Transportation Company, Special Troops Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade during an inactivation ceremony at the Transportation Museum on Fort Eustis, June 12.
The ceremony began in the traditional fashion, with a review of the company’s history and accolades.
The 89th Trans. Company was first activated, Oct. 12, 1939 at Fort Lewis, Wash. During World War II the company played a vital role in transporting supplies and equipment with campaigns in northern Africa and throughout Europe. The company, then designated Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Quartermaster Regiment, supported 7th Army, 3rd Infantry Division and 1st Infantry Division.
The unit was reorganized and reflagged several times, but in 1947 the company was moved to Germany and designated as the 89th Transportation Corps Truck Company. The unit moved to France shortly thereafter where it became an integral part of the communication and supply lines from France into Germany. It is during this period the company earned the title of ‘Roadmasters.’
In more recent history, the ‘Roadmaster’ company deployed four times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the mission of running supplies throughout Iraq and providing armed escort gun trucks.
In March 2011, the 89th Trans. Company, which then fell under the 6th Transportation Battalion, deployed for the last time to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. The company was tasked with retrograding U.S. equipment and escorting it out of Iraq into Kuwait. During this deployment, the company conducted 300 combat logistics patrols, moved 70,000 short tons of equipment and drove 920,000 miles.
“This is a great unit with a lot of history and a great lineage,” said 1st Lt. John Tansioco, the 89th Trans. Company executive officer. “We were one of the last unit’s out of Iraq and it definitely gives us all a sense of pride to have been a part of that country’s history.”
As the unit history concluded, the formation of ‘Roadmaster’ soldiers were called to the position of attention. The company commander and acting first sergeant came forward, brought the colors to present arms, and cased the colors one last time.
“This company cases its colors today, but it leaves a legacy of standards,” said Capt. Ariel Rivera, the 89th Trans. Company commander. “We leave a legacy of teamwork and leadership. Both deployed and here in garrison, we have always done things that other units emulate.”
The ceremony concluded with remarks from Lt. Col. Stephen Wilke, the STB, 7th Sus. Bde. commander, and Rivera. After the conclusion, the soldiers, friends and families remained. Many of them discussed their time in Iraq, the unit’s unique heritage and how their time deployed impacted them.
“Even though we cased the colors today, I know the soldiers of this unit will always stand ready,” said Rivera. “At some point in the future, if our country needs us again, we will uncase those colors and be ready to support the Army again.”